We’re taught at an early age that we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Or in other words, we shouldn’t judge someone before getting a better understanding of their experiences. But we don’t always take the time or have the patience to follow through.
It can be especially difficult to understand a loved one who is struggling with addiction.
If you’ve never had a similar experience yourself, how are you supposed to understand what your loved one is going through? After all, this isn’t a situation where you can realistically walk a mile in their shoes. But the questions remain: Why are they drinking or using drugs? Why can’t they stop?
In this article, we’ll try to take a deep dive into what a day in the life of an addict actually looks like. By exploring addict behaviors and breaking down why addiction occurs, you’ll hopefully be able to better understand what your loved one is going through in order to help them.
An Inside Look at the Struggle with Addiction
By now, you’ve caught on to your loved one’s addiction symptoms. And their substance abuse may have even taken a toll on their physical health, making them look like a mere shadow of the healthy individual they used to be.
But what are they really going through? The bottom line is your loved one’s life now revolves around their substance use. If you live with them, they probably tried to hide it from you and managed to do so – for a while, at least.
Let’s take drinking as an example. Your loved one has managed to earn a college degree and hold down a job, but their drinking takes precedence. If they don’t drink, they can’t function normally. This requires them to plan ahead. They attend happy hours after work to give them an excuse to drink. If they run out of alcohol the night before, they probably look for opportunities when you aren’t around to run to the store to purchase beer and small bottles of vodka that they then hide in bags or inside their socks. They probably then ration the alcohol to ensure they’ll be able to make it through the day and night.
Or perhaps your loved one lives alone and is hooked on opioids and alcohol. They may wake up hungover and tell themselves that they’re going to stop using. But they down a roll of Tums to stop the stomach aches and burning, then make a large cup of coffee to get their caffeine fix. At the office, they start to shake and tell themselves they just need one drink to calm themselves down. When they get home, they replace dinner with some pills to relax and chase them with another drink. By 8pm, they’re passed out with no actual end to the substance use in sight.
The takeaway here is that your loved one is a slave to their addiction. Even when someone struggling with addiction wants to quit, withdrawal symptoms, cravings and ongoing depression or anxiety drag them back. They want to function like normal members of society, but the only way they know how to do that is by feeding their alcohol or drug addiction.
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Why Your Loved One Can’t Simply “Quit”
After reading those examples, you’re probably thinking that no one would actually want to live a life like that. And chances are, your loved one would agree with you. This is because your loved one never meant to get addicted to alcohol or drugs in the first place.
In fact, research now tells us that addiction is a disease just like heart disease or cancer. You wouldn’t look at a loved one struggling with heart disease and shame them for not exercising enough or eating healthier foods, right? In the same vein, you shouldn’t look at your loved one’s addiction and shame or blame them for it.
While it may be easy to say they shouldn’t have started drinking or using drugs in the first place, that doesn’t take into account the genetic or environmental factors that influence substance use and lead to addiction.
Addiction is a disease. And just like heart disease and cancer, it takes treatment and rehab to help your loved one recover.
Get Your Loved One Addiction Treatment at The Raleigh House
You don’t need to literally walk a mile in your loved one’s shoes to understand that what they’re going through is out of their control. Your loved one is at the mercy of alcohol or drug addiction, and it’s going to take your support and a credible addiction treatment center to help them break free and return to a healthy, sober state of being.
If you’re ready to learn more, our team at The Raleigh House is here to answer your questions and talk more about our unique and effective approach to addiction treatment. Fill out our form or contact us today to learn more.